What can you do with a month?

Has it really been an entire month that I’ve been absent from this space? Oh my! It certainly has been a busy month. I suspect it might just take me an entire month more to share all the adventures we’ve been having.

It has been a month of family, a month of history, and a month of bravery. It has been a month of learning, a month of playing, and a month of working hard on all sorts of projects.

It has also been a month of animals, and we’ve been enjoying every minute of it.

First came Waldo.

Doesn’t he have the sweetest doggie face? We love Waldo. We love that Waldo comes to visit as often as he can. (And this Mama especially loves that when we dogsit Waldo, he goes home afterwards — I’m not up for being a full-time dog owner, especially one as curious and mischievous and strong as Waldo.)

Waldo is very curious. When he isn’t busy investigating everything he can find over this-a-way…

…he’s busy investigating everything he can find over that-a-way.

Which includes clover. And bumblebees. And garden beds. And the water in the ravine. And the bunnies who visit our yard. And the cat who regularly visits our yard (who was rather startled to suddenly discover our yard was inhabited by a rather large, rather exciteable, and rather deep-voiced dog. We haven’t seen the cat since).

And I must say, settling down at the computer to work for a bit with a large, heavy, warm lump of fur laying half on your feet…

…is actually rather nice.

We like Waldo around here.

The day before Waldo went home, three more visitors arrived: one of the hamsters we pet-sat before (the other, sadly, having gone the way all hamsters do after too short a time), and two very friendly rats. And guess what? I still like those sweet rats just as much as I did the last time they came to stay with us for a bit. So did the kids. So much so, in fact, that not only did we play with them daily, we built them a little play fort out of stacked up boxes and baskets and toys we thought the girls might like.

They didn’t like it.

Or rather, they would creep out, explore for a bit, then climb back into their cage (which made up one entire wall of the play area) and hide for a bit. The hamster, on the other hand, loved it. Safely in his ball (I have this fear of losing him down one of the heating vents), he rolled this way and that way throughout the play area as long as we would let him.

They, too, went home after a bit, but they stayed long enough that the kids had a chance to really get to know them, and to enjoy their company.

I like pet sitting. My kids get to play with all sorts of different creatures, to appreciate how important it is to care for each one in the way that suits that animal best, but they only stay long enough for us to get a good visit in before they head home again. If we acquired all these pets for ourselves, I am positive that in no time at all we would have a veritable zoo on our hands. Truly. B would not complain. In fact, she would be happier than happy has ever been.

Until the time came to clean all those litter boxes, that is. Cleaning up critter poo is not her favourite chore.

We’ve had critters in the garden, too. Caterpillars, for certain. Green ones, yellow ones, striped ones, fuzzy ones… all sorts of caterpillars have been visiting this year. Which also means all sorts of butterflies have been fluttering by.

We like butterflies.

We have bunnies, too. Young ones, older ones, every morning as the sun rises and every evening as the sun goes down, we spy bunnies munching away on clover and kale. I was sneaky this year — I planted the kale all along the border of the garden, lots and lots and lots of it — and the bunnies are so happy with the kale, they’ve been leaving everything else in the garden alone. Except for the clover, but I don’t mind one bit if they eat the clover.

The birds have been busy this year, and the squirrels, but so have the beetles. Shiny green and red ones that are busily eating the leaves off our grape vine. I don’t know what species they are, but I do know this: I do not like them. I do not like them one bit.

Inside the house, the birds have been busy too:

But before you get too excited, you should know that this sweet little fellow is no longer with us. This photo was taken on the first day that he decided to try to fly. Yes, you read that right: he tried to fly without any feathers. He hopped right out of the nest and plummeted to the bottom of the cage in a flurry of panicked squawking on behalf of his mother (who has left the nest for just a moment to feed herself for once).

If you have a particularly sharp eye for details, you might have noticed that I wrote “the first time.” Yes, there was a second. No, he still didn’t have any mature feathers when he tried to fly the second time. Unfortunately, he managed to launch himself far enough away from the nest that he landed in the water dish, in water over his head (he was rather tiny, after all, being only a couple of weeks old). Tragically, he did this early one morning before any of us were awake and was only discovered after it was too late to rescue him.

But that’s not the end of our animal adventures this month, oh no!

About a week ago, it started raining frogs inside our house.

Well okay, it was only one frog, and he jumped off the wall of the front porch just as I was opening the door, but still. A frog fell from above and landed by my feet and I shrieked, B shrieked, K came running, and before we could blink, the tiny little frog had hopped his way into the closet, jumped up onto my cane (which was hanging from its usual hook), and started climbing for all he was worth. We managed to trap him inside a clean jar without touching him (frogs breathe through their skin and the oils from your hands can disrupt their respiration) and set him back outside in the garden, but we took a few terrible photos first.

One might think that July was filled with entirely too many animals for any one month, but the reality is that each of these adventures brought us joy in one way or another. After spying on bunnies, picking up caterpillars, cuddling rats, chasing hamsters, capturing and releasing a tiny little frog, mourning a baby bird, and playing and playing and playing with Waldo… we decided our house didn’t have enough critters in it, so we restocked the big aquarium in my home office and K’s much smaller aquarium in his bedroom, too. Fish may be little itty bitty things that stay nicely contained in their watery home, but they add a little bit of flash and sparkle and joy to a room. B is now asking me to set up a little aquarium in her room, too.

If by “asking” you mean “begging and pleading daily,” that is.

I rather suspect she’s been begging every higher power she can think of in her quest for more critters for our house. In fact, I’m almost sure of it. It must be, because there is no other explanation for it.

For what? Oh. Didn’t I mention it?

The birds have been busy again.

(Do you think anyone will notice if I compost some of the eggs?)

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